Motsoeneng to approach Labour Court to halt disciplinary hearing
The former SABC chief operating officer is accused of gross insubordination for ‘slagging off’ his employer in the press
Former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng plans to approach the Labour Court to have his disciplinary hearing stopped. The hearing‚ which was due to begin on Wednesday‚ was stalled as Motsoeneng argued there is an ulterior motive for bringing the hearing.
He is charged with misconduct after holding a media conference in which he criticised the SABC’s decision to scrap the 90% local music policy that he spearheaded. In the media conference‚ he took a swipe at interim board member Krish Naidoo‚ who he accused of "selling out".
On Thursday, Motsoeneng’s legal team argued that the hearing should rather be heard by the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) because the comments he made should be considered protected public disclosure.
Protected public disclosure is usually used as a defence by employees who claim they have been wrongfully charged or dismissed for exposing corruption.
Disciplinary hearing chairman Nazeem Cassim dismissed this argument‚ leading Motsoeneng’s legal team to reveal his new plan. "We have received instructions to approach the Labour Court on an urgent basis to seek to stop these proceedings on the same basis that was argued this morning. At this stage‚ we seek to request whether you will be willing to allow us some time to approach the court before you proceed‚" Advocate Andy Bester asked Cassim.
The SABC’s legal representative‚ Advocate Anton Myburgh‚ argued against the postponement‚ saying Motsoeneng knowingly breached the SABC’s code of conduct.
"What Mr Motsoeneng did involves gross insubordination and he knows that the rules of the SABC involve not being entitled to slag off your employer in the press. He knows of his common law duties but he [decided] to not to comply with them‚" said Myburgh.
Motsoeneng chuckled as Myburgh read out what he had said during the media conference‚ which was widely televised.
"This is the board of directors [that he insulted] and it’s extraordinary misconduct. You cannot go into a public forum and accuse a director of dishonesty in these terms. You simply cannot do that and expect that there are going to be no consequences‚" Myburgh added.
Cassim granted a postponement until 6pm on May 24 to allow Motsoeneng to approach the Labour Court.